March 2016 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (New Orleans Roundtrip) Cruise on Norwegian Dawn
Just got back yesterday from our cruise on the Norwegian Dawn. This is our 11th cruise, the first 10 with Carnival. This was our first with Norwegian. It is difficult to not compare so I will give my review with some comparison for others who may be in the same situation, trying Norwegian for the first time.
First of all, I was worried by so many negative reviews. Upon arriving we parked at Fulton Place parking on the rooftop which was 9 dollars a day. That all went fine except it is very busy there but that is expected. So many people. Got onto the ship by noon and everything there went smoothly.
We have never done a guarantee category before and now I will say I will NEVER do this again as it did not work out well for us AT ALL. We book obstructed oceanview porthole. We were told that it was due to the lifeboats being in the way. We didn't care as it provided light and we usually do inside anyway. We got an awesome price so it was all good and I looked and all these rooms were on the 8th deck.
Well when we got to our room we were "upgraded" to an oceanview non obstructed view but they put us on the 4th deck ALL THE WAY IN THE FRONT OF THE SHIP. I mean we were 4 rooms back. I understand this was a guarantee so we took a chance and this was not a good one. If you get sea sick AT ALL do not do guarantee as this was the worst location we have ever gotten on any cruise. Lets just say the kids and I were nervous the entire time. It was so rough the seas it sounded like you were in the middle of a storm. I'll end it there, but room 4512 was a horrible room
We tried to get it moved 3 times but they said the ship was totally booked.
Ok now to the boat. It is older and smaller. But is is very comparable to the older Carnival ships. It is going into dry dock next month for a spif up so it should improve that. But all in all the ship was very nice.
We got some deals so we dined in 3 specialty restaurants and also the free Aqua and Venetian.
The food was very good for the most part, maybe a little better than Carnival. The desserts were definitely better. The Garden Cafe upstairs had something for everyone... burgers hot dogs pasta station and then whatever they were serving that day. It was all pretty good but nothing really fantastic.
We prefer Carnival up on the Lido because my husband loves Guys Burgers and I like that you can go to different places like the Burrito place and most of all I totally missed the 24 hour pizza that Carnival offers. Norwegian Dawn has what looks and tastes like a frozen pizza on the bar. So in comparison Carnival definitely to me is better because of choice.
The specialty restaurants were good. The Moderno Brazilian Steakhouse was my least favorite. The salad bar was fantastic but the meat which is the main attraction was not good at all.
Cagnys was delicious. Le Bistro had my favorite meal the lobster tail. So good.
The Venetian was elegantly decorated and very good. The Aqua was very cool and we enjoyed that as well.
I will say for us the freestyle wasn't our favorite although it does have its perks. If you are not hungry at a certain time, you just go when you want. But for us we enjoy going to the same table and having the same waiter every night for the whole week. There is no real ability to get to know the staff because you are always somewhere different. We didn't like that but some may.
The shows were ok. Not our favorite except the last night the illusionist was fantastic. Second City was also great but that was only one night. The Dawn singers were not great. We enjoyed the Frank Sinatra singer as well. But entertainment was just mediocre.
All in all we had a great time and we enjoyed the trip although the next cruise we booked was back to Carnival. Carnival to me is also just better for the kids. We have teenagers and there didn't seem much to do. We also like the big movie screen by the pool and movies and sports on Carnival s bigger ships. Also there really isn't any specific adult area like the Serenity on Carnival, which we like.
One last note. Richard the cruise director was awesome!!!!!